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Several compressor disks in military fighter and trainer aircraft gas turbine engines cracked prematurely in the bolt hole regions. The disks were made of precipitation-hardened AM355 martensitic stainless steel. Experimental and analytical work was performed on specimens from the fifth-stage compressor disk (judged to be the most crack-prone disk in the compressor) to determine the cause of the failures. Failure was attributed to high-strain low-cycle fatigue during service. It was also determined that the cyclic engine usage assumed in the original life calculations had been under estimated, which led to low-cycle fatigue cracking earlier than expected. Fracture mechanics analysis of the disks was carried out to assess their damage tolerance and to predict safe inspection intervals.

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